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Antibodies yield their secrets and display therapeutic versatility
Introducing: the antibody molecule.Thanks to the immunologists, geneticists, protein chemists, and x-ray crystallographers who have hammered away at its structure and composition over the past 20 years, enough information about this exquisitely crafted molecule is now at hand to thrill any scientist (particularly the evolutionary-minded) and to stir a clinician's heart.Many basic questions remain unanswered, such as the details of the genetic coding for the four polypeptide chains. Yet the field has advanced so rapidly in recent years that the new problems tend to be practical ones, such as how to produce specific antibodies on demand in sufficient quantities, and how to harness antibodies for novel purposes.To this end, a small but international symposium was held recently in New York to discuss what is now known about antibodies and what the future holds, particularly with respect to the
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